I ran across this article on Goop the other day. I know, why am I even over there, right? I don’t have $400 to spend on a pair of baby alpaca wool socks that are so soft they knitted them while the wool was still attached to the baby alpaca as it was being born. If you are hoping to discover the secret to looking younger in their article or this one, you’ll be disappointed. There is no secret to looking younger. If there were, Goop would be selling it for a few hundred thousand dollars.
The simple truth is that we can’t look young forever because we don’t stay young forever. We aren’t St. Bernadette. (She’s the Catholic nun who died, and her body never decomposed. I’m not making that up.) I find the term “forever” a little misleading because none of us stays youthful in appearance for 70 years, let alone forever — not even St. Bernadette. She’s only been dead for 138 years — who knows what her skin will look like in 300 more. Although I think she has a light coating of wax on her face to cover up mold patches, so maybe that’s the secret to looking younger forever.
Now, let’s not get aging confused with caring about our appearance. Caring about our appearance is important because self-confidence is important and so is our health (mental and physical). Exercising is important. Wearing sunscreen is important. I’m not talking about that stuff. I’m talking about obsessing over wrinkles and spending thousands of dollars on anti-aging creams that don’t work — investing in ways to prevent the unpreventable. Unless you are a Greek goddess, none of us is living past 104, and that’s if you start eating nothing but fiber right this minute — and invest in wax for your face.
Goop offers many reasons for why we get old (because, biology) and tips on how to prevent getting old (you can’t). Even they have no actual secret to looking younger “forever” (because there isn’t one, and forever isn’t a thing). Still, my favorite things they suggest are:
“Fast for three hours between dinner and bedtime, and at least twelve hours between dinner and breakfast.” I actually had to do this when I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. It doesn’t make you look younger. It makes you hungry. And angry. It’s called fasting because that’s the speed you move out of bed in the morning to grab food.
Drink Organic Wine
We all know red wine is healthy — study after study proves it. But after spending a day with six loads of laundry, a puking toddler, and never-ending arguments over why we can’t drink out of the cat bowl, I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that we don’t really care what kind of wine it is. I’ll even drink it out of a box. (I wholeheartedly believe boxes are organic.)
Swap Coffee for Matcha Latte
I’m not a huge tea drinker, and I love my coffee. So if you want to suggest a reason for me to basically drink a cup of pea soup (minus the ham and carrots), you’ll have to go bigger than anti-aging. Is it like drinking 50 cups of coffee? Will it give me the same amount of energy that my toddler has after only three hours of sleep and eating a single grape? Also, “matcha” sounds like an Italian expression for “excellent!”
Take Melatonin at Night to Help With Sleep
You know, or wine (organic).
Eat More “Wild-Caught” Fish
The only way you can access wild-caught fish is if you steal it from a bear. You might run from the bear like you did when you were 16, but the stress would make you age at least 12 years. I get that low-mercury fish is super healthy if you’re into eating fish. It’s good for your brain, but so is Sudoku and it smells better. Of course, fish is healthier than 50 pounds of red meat. But salmon bacon just doesn’t feel the same to me.
Sleep on Your Side
Goop says, “Sleeping on your right side activates your vagus nerve, which is key to stress resilience.” You know what’s key to stress resilience? A box of wine.
“People who don’t floss have a 30 percent higher risk of mortality,” according to Goop. I would probably have to say this is the closest thing the article has to the secret of looking younger forever. Immortality by Oral-B.
I agree that sweating and steam are both good for your skin, but I’m not sure I believe that a sauna has the power to activate “longevity” genes like a microwave activates popcorn.
Goop recommends a Muse Brain-Sensing Headband, also known as a $250 headset that plays white noise. You know, if I’m not jumping into a game of Tron within four seconds of turning this thing on, I’m out. $250 is a lot of money to spend on headphones. Yes, meditation reduces stress because you aren’t doing anything. It’s good for you. But you can also relax in a hot bath and listen to white noise on Pandora for free.
If you don’t have toddlers or small kids in your house, you’re probably doing better on sleep than the rest of us. Sadly, skimping on sleep is a way of life for this season of parenthood. Napping is a luxury. Goop suggests using a sleep tracker to see how much sleep you aren’t getting. They also recommend at least one hour of deep sleep, “which is when your memories are consolidated,” which has nothing to do with the secret to looking younger forever. But memories of looking younger forever will be consolidated and filed away for later use — so in 40 years, you can remember how young you used to look while drinking your organic wine and eating your salmon bacon. Matcha!
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look beautiful or making efforts to feel younger. My point is, you already are beautiful, and you’re only as old as you feel. Whatever happened to just accepting you for you — laugh lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, and all? Each scar, wrinkle, crow’s foot, sun freckle, or imperfection on your body is a story about your life and the quality of your life lived is much more important than how you look doing it.
The triangle of youth should be less about how your face ages and more about how your life ages. Because the real secret to looking younger forever is to enjoy what we have, where we have been, and who we are today. You can’t buy that.
So go forth into your day, with your messy bun, sweatpants, and spit-up on your shirt (maybe it’s baby poop; it all looks the same after four hours of sleep). Wear the bikini. Flaunt the scar you have on your chin from skateboarding in the sixth grade. Go be beautiful because you are.
And go order some baby alpaca wool socks. Etsy has them for $15.99.